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I've got to shoot some slides of my work, and it's been a while. Anyone have tips as far as film, lighting, etc. go? thanks in advance.
I've never shot paintings before, but I can give some advice on film. A photographer once told me that I should use Fuji Velvia 50 because it provides professional quality. The 50 refers to the speed of the film. Basically that means the film will be more fine grained. The lower the number, the finer the quality.
I don't think the f-stop or exposure time matters much in this case. If you use a flash, the exposure time might actually have only one setting.
I personally shoot outside on a sunny day, there is no light better than sunlight. ^^' Just make sure you don't get a nasty glare. (if you used glossy paint or a clear glossy overcoat)
It's better to live on your feet than to die on your knees.
Some random advice in a random order:
There are two basic ways to shoot your work: on a wall with a tripod or laying flat and using a tripod or rostrum camera.
The BEST weather for outdoors shooting is a lightly-overcast day: no harsh shadows, no bright reflections. That said, the cloudier the day, the bluer the tint on your images, so take that advice with a grain of salt. As Tanika said, sunlight is the best light source if you don't have a lighting kit (if you shoot outdoors and you are camera saavy, try using a polarizing filter to knock down reflections and harsh highlights).
ALWAYS use a tripod or monopod or gazillionapod: brace your shots.
If you're shooting digitally, make sure you can see the edges of your work and then crop it down. If you're shooting film, it'll be a problem to crop stuff out unless you develop the film yourself, so frame the shot as tightly as possible.
Never use a flash.
This seems dumb, but it's easy to overlook when you shoot a lot at once: make sure the film/sensor is parallel with your work and that you're shooting straight-on.
If you must shoot indoors, consider renting a lighting kit. If you rent tungsten lights, be sure to shoot tungsten film. Nothing will color your work worse than household incandescent or floruescent lights.
If you need to output slides for your portfolio, you can still shoot digitally, but check with the film shop that'll be making the slides to make sure you supply them with the resolution you need.
Film does make a difference, as MTW said - the rule of thumb is that the lower the ASA (film speed), the finer the film grain. While not always true, Velvia is an awesome film stock; ASA 100 Fuji or Kodak is also good for the budget-minded.
The only time aperture is important is for depth of field; if you do minatures or constructions, the higher the f-stop NUMBER (ie, the smaller the physical aperture) the deeper the depth of field becomes. Of course, you gotta pour major light on your work if your aperture gets smaller...
freelance imagemaker + digital experience designer
Thanks for the advice. I'm thinking of starting a NYC art school in the fall and will have to do slides of my portfolio. I'm glad to hear you can shoot them digitally.
Thanks a lot for the input everyone, I'm gonna be shooting mine this week.